Who Made Fanta? The Nefarious Origins of a Fruity Favorite

When you take a cold, bubbly sip of Fanta, do you ever wonder, “Who made Fanta?”  It turns out, that sweet, delicious drink has a shockingly sinister past—something we learned about on a recent episode of Good Mythical Morning.

So, who made Fanta?

To explain how it all started, we have to go back to World War II. At the time, the Coca-Cola company was finally finding international success after its president, Robert Woodruff, established a foreign department. The department created—and had direct control over—twenty-seven international bottling plants, including a thriving plant in Germany… well, Nazi Germany to be more accurate. The German plant, Coca-Cola Deutschland, was under the control of German businessman Max Keith. Though Keith himself was never a member of the Nazi Party, he worked closely with them throughout the War to ensure Coca-Cola Deutschland thrived. But after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States joined the war, formally declared Nazi Germany an enemy, and established a trade embargo, which made it impossible for Coca-Cola Deutschland to get Coca-Cola syrup.

While this could have been the end of Coca-Cola in Germany, Keith was determined to keep the company afloat. His fix: Create a new drink using locally-sourced ingredients. The resulting beverage was a caffeinated drink made with sugar beet, whey, and apple pomace—pomace being the pulpy bits left after the fruit is juiced. The name of that drink? Fanta. It was a massive hit, largely because it was the only sugary soft drink on the market. Since there were wartime sugar rations in place, people bought the new drink in bulk to use at home as a sugar substitute in recipes. But it wasn’t just the sugariness that made the drink a household staple, it was what the name Fanta symbolized. It came from fantasie, German for imagination. Just as Coca-Cola’s branding promised a lifestyle of happiness, Fanta became a symbol of German creativity and innovation. But when WWII ended, it didn’t matter who made Fanta or what it came to mean to them. America regained control of the plant and ended the production of Fanta. 

Wait, is that the end? How do we still have Fanta?

Fanta was re-launched in 1955 with a different formula. The new recipe was created in Italy using fresh oranges. So, you can drink your Fanta comfortably knowing that your drink is far removed from its Nazi roots. That said, on their 75th anniversary, Fanta released a new flavor containing the original Nazi-era ingredients (whey and apple pomace). But the company faced serious backlash when an advertisement for the drink promised to bring back “The feeling of the Good Old Times.” Yikes.

About the Author

Navya Hari

Navya Hari is a writer, baker, and utter nuisance who would gladly take the salt out of every recipe and replace it with ten cloves of garlic. When she’s not whipping up some medieval pie, trying to create food from a video game, or covered in flour, you can probably find her asleep in bed dreaming about Indian mangoes.

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